Memorial to honor renowned professor

by Bei Hu

A memorial service in Coffman Memorial Union’s Campus Club this Saturday will honor W. Dixon Ward, professor emeritus of communication disorders and otolaryngology at the University.
Ward died of heart failure on Dec. 19 in St. Paul. He was 72.
Saturday’s memorial service will begin at 7 p.m.
A native of Pierre, S.D., Ward received his doctorate degree in psychoacoustics from Harvard University. He came to the University in 1962 and began teaching in the departments of Communication Disorders and Otolaryngology as an associate professor.
In the 31 years following, his academic activities expanded into the School of Public Health and the Department of Psychology, where he lectured as an adjunct professor.
Ward maintained an active academic life even after his retirement from the University in October 1993. He was still grading exams and papers days before his death, said Charles Speaks, chairman of the Department of Communication Disorders and a 29-year friend of Ward.
Speaks said Ward was a prolific writer. He reportedly published 112 articles, 40 book chapters and 22 book reviews. He also edited four books.
As an internationally renowned scholar, Ward spoke in many countries including Germany, Argentina, Italy and Austria. He held membership in a number of organizations and once headed the International Society of Audiology, the American Audiology Society, and the Acoustical Society of America. In 1991, Ward received the Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, Musical Acoustics and Noise from the Acoustical Society of America, the highest award in the field.
Speaks also said Ward had strong concerns regarding social issues, such as the degradation of environment and government encroachment on personal liberty. He expressed his opinions not only through his academic activities, but also through letters to The Minnesota Daily.
“He used to say he had an obligation to write (to the Daily) at least once a month to express his views on things,” said Speaks.
Speaks praised Ward as a man of extraordinary integrity and energy. “In spite of the international reputation that he had,” said Speaks. “Dixon would treat everybody the same.”
Ward is survived by his wife and four daughters.